ACT OF CONTRITION
Father Odilon Brise was from Belguim, I think. He was the pastor at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kaplan, where I was baptized and where I made my First Holy Communion.
Pere Brise was a rather controversial priest. When a lady in the church parish came to him and said people objected to his sitting on the porch of the rectory in his shirt sleeves, drinking beer, because he was setting a bad example, he told her, "My daughter, to get to Heaven you should do what I tell you to do, not what I, myself, do."
He was the reason my mother stopped going to church, although she did not allow her children to miss Mass. You see, when one of my older siblings was a baby, she was sitting in church with him one Sunday, and he must have been teething or something, because he was a bit noisy. From the altar, Pere Brise remarked that "ladies with babies should stay home with them, rather than bringing them to church to disturb him and other people during Mass." The next time I know that my mother went to church was when she attended my brother's wedding in South Carolina, about three years before she died, and that wasn't even a Catholic church!
In May of 1933, just before my 12th birthday, my family moved to Perry and left me at Tante Jeanne and Nonc Frank's house in Kaplan, to finish the school year and to make my First Communion. This was an important event in my life. Pere Brise chose me to recite the Act of Contrition in English, and my best friend to recite it in French. We knelt together at the rail before the altar. That was the first time I ever gave any sort of performance in public. I thought I'd be petrified, but everything went smoothly.
After I moved from Kaplan, I never saw Pere Brise again, but I heard that several years later, he went home on vacation, and died while he was there.
Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA
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